still believe they are above all else membersrnof a religious communitx. As anrncthnie, eultural, or political entity thernarc doomed.”rnBut religion is not a solution to thernthreatened problems of an ethnic group:rnit is a va of life, a worldview, embodiedrnby a social entity deemed holy, concernedrn(in the case of Judaism) withrnGod, God’s self-manifestation in thernTorah, God’s loc for the supernaturalrnsocial entity, “Israel” (meaning the chosenrnand holy people, not to be confusedrnwith this-worldly entities of the samernname), and God’s image of Man, who isrnmade in God’s image, after God’s likeness.rnAdopting these principles of faithrnnot by reason of conviction but from pohticalrnor social considerations simph’rndeepens the political or social crisis, evenrnin the short run. Has anvone before offeredrnmass hypoeris- as a solution to a socialrnproblem? I doubt that God, for I lisrnpart, will be much impressed. Peoplernpractice religion because they believernthat is what God wants them to do, notrnso that their grandchildren will do thernsame. They leae the rest, includingrntheir lives and their future, in God’srnhands. Appealing to the sacred in thernname of the secular, Abrams asks forrnwhat cannot, and should not, be. Still, inrna this-worldly framework, his book is objectivernand professional.rnResponding subjectively to the personalrncrisis of his son’s marriage to arnGentile, Dershowitz mounts a full-scalernattack on the religion—^Judaism—whichrnfor theological reasons condemns marriagernof Jews to unconverted Gentiles.rnInstead he advocates not a faith but arnheritage: “an eclectic, tolerant” and inclusirne secular Jewishness—an ethnicrnidentity—for American Jews. His autobiographicalrnstarting point is the intermarriagernof Jews and Gentiles, whichrntakes place in a society ever less characterizedrnby anti-Semitism; “thus we mustrndefine our Jewish identity in differentrnand more positive ways than we did inrnthe past.” He identifies in the ChristianrnRight (“and their Jewish allies”) a principalrnsurviving form of anti-Semitism,rnsharpK- differing from Abrams’ generalK’rnpositive assessment of the ChristianrnRight.rnDershowitz rejects the three principalrnmodes of Jewish survival: the religiousrnsolution, meaning svnagogual affiliation;rnthe Israeli solution, meaning emigration;rnaird, agrceiirg with Abrams here, the ethicalrnsolution, meaning stress on liberalrnpolitics. Instead he ad’ocates, alongrnwith a call to action, “a new, more positive,rnJewish identity based on a 3,500-rnyear-old tradition of education, scholarship,rnlearning, creativitv, justice, andrncompassion. But first we must figure outrna wa to make this di’erse librarv of Jewishrnknowledge accessible and useful torngenerations of Jews who are abysmalh’ ignorantrnof their remarkable tradition.”rnJewish educators ha e struggled withrnthat challenge for generations, butrnDershowitz, seems not to acknowledgernthis fact.rnDershowitz takes a militantly secularrnposition. It is Judaism the religion thatrnforbids what his son has done. So, tornloe his daughter-in-law, Dershowitz despisesrnthat religion. Rabbis, monopolizingrncontrol over Jewish education, mustrnbe deposed. Only secular Jews embodvrnthe good: “IIOH- come so man of thernJews who contributed so much to thernworld were not practicing or observantrnJews?” Jews who practice Judaism as arnreligion are dismissed: “Wh’ has thernJewish background or heritage of sornman individuals who have contributedrnso much to the world been so importantrnto their success, \’hile the core of Jewishrnreligious observance has been relativelyrnunimportant?” I le cannot mean SenatorrnJoseph Lieberman in the UnitedrnStates, or the Chief Rabbi, JonathanrnSacks, in Britain: two enormousH influentialrnJews at the highest levels of publicrnlife who practice Judaism. ExactK whatrnDershowitz has in mind in making theserninvidious comparisons—apart from arngeneral attitude of disdain—is scarcelyrnobvious. Dershowitz creates his worldrnout of empt words—an uncharitablernlanguage of abuse, nothing more.rnDershowitz’s own position is simple.rn”If eclectic Judaism is to survixe andrnthrive, then Jews must devise eclecticrnrules adaptive to the changes in Judaismrnand to the wodds in which Jews live todav.rnSecular Jews have the right andrnpower to do what is nceessar” to preservernsecular Jewish life,” as does eeryoiiernelse. But when it comes to making concreternexplanation of what he means byrn”secular-Jewish,” Dershowitz admits hernis stmied: “The further one moves ava’rnfrom the strictly religious component ofrnJudaism, the nrore difficult it is to definernthe Jewisli character either of Israel or ofrnthe Jewish c<)mmunit.” He does discoverrna familiar source of definition, which isrneducation: “For Judaism to become arntransmittable civilization in an integrated,rnsecular world where Jews do not experiencernisolation, discrimination, andrnvictimization, Jewish learning must becomernaccessible to integrated and secularrnJews. It must become usable to themrnin their daily lives.” Dershowitz furtherrnadx’ocates spirituality without religiosit:rnJewish ethics, Jewish environmentalism,rnJewish feminism, and the like—Judaismrna la mode. “Judaism must become lessrntribal, less ethuo-centric, less exclusive,rnless closed off, less defensive, less xenophobic,rnless clannish.” “Jews must adoptrna different approach to the increasing realityrnof intermarriage.” That, indeed, isrnthe idea prompting this unending flowrnof empty platitudes from the secular left.rnDershowitz wants to reinvent the Jewishrnwheel: “Recognize the validity of secularrnJudaism, which does not require beliefrnin the supernatural, which is devotedrnto Jew ish learning, and which regards Judaismrnas an evolving civilization.” Thisrnis nothing more than the language ofrnJewish Reconstructionism. He advocates,rnas being of his own coinage, stringsrnof contemporary Jewish and Judaicrncliches. “We need a leadership of Jewishrneducators who can address the pressingrnissue of Jewish illiteracy and ignorance.”rn”The Judaism I am trying to defend … isrna Judaism of ideas, of attitudes, of skepticism,rnof justice, of compassion, of argumentation,rnand of inclusiveness.” I cannotrnthink of a single rabbi in the UnitedrnStates who would take issue with him,rnexcept on his violent rejection of religiosity.rnHe ends with a call to action, somethingrnbordering on self-parody: a conferencernto be telecast live by satellite, openrnto mass participation via the Internetrnand e-mail—more or less the media hernused when he was counseling O.J. Simpson.rnHe concludes; “I look forward tornsaving ‘Shalom’ to vou on the informationrnsuperhighway!”rnSo far as Dershowitz claims to constructrnhis proposal for an eclectic Judaismrnout of the resources of religiousrnJudaism, which he both dismisses andrnhails as a principal resource, he has writtenrna work of surpassing ignorance andrnutter intellectual vulgarity. In advocatingrnlearning he himself does not possess,rnDershowitz simph does not know whatrnhe does not know. That is why hernembarrasses himself in his pathetic pseudo-rntheology. The humility of ElliottrnAbrams contrasts powerfully with the ignorancernand arrogance of this opinionatedrnboob. crn:i8/CHRONICLESrnrnrn